The Nashville Statement on Biblical Sexuality

The Nashville Statement on Biblical Sexuality

“Know that the LORD Himself is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves…” -Psalm 100:3

Preamble

Evangelical Christians at the dawn of the twenty-first century find themselves living in a period of historic transition. As Western culture has become increasingly post-Christian, it has embarked upon a massive revision of what it means to be a human being. By and large the spirit of our age no longer discerns or delights in the beauty of God’s design for human life. Many deny that God created human beings for his glory, and that his good purposes for us include our personal and physical design as male and female. It is common to think that human identity as male and female is not part of God’s beautiful plan, but is, rather, an expression of an individual’s autonomous preferences. The pathway to full and lasting joy through God’s good design for his creatures is thus replaced by the path of shortsighted alternatives that, sooner or later, ruin human life and dishonor God.

This secular spirit of our age presents a great challenge to the Christian church. Will the church of the Lord Jesus Christ lose her biblical conviction, clarity, and courage, and blend into the spirit of the age? Or will she hold fast to the word of life, draw courage from Jesus, and unashamedly proclaim his way as the way of life? Will she maintain her clear, counter-cultural witness to a world that seems bent on ruin?

We are persuaded that faithfulness in our generation means declaring once again the true story of the world and of our place in it—particularly as male and female. Christian Scripture teaches that there is but one God who alone is Creator and Lord of all. To him alone, every person owes glad-hearted thanksgiving, heart-felt praise, and total allegiance. This is the path not only of glorifying God, but of knowing ourselves. To forget our Creator is to forget who we are, for he made us for himself. And we cannot know ourselves truly without truly knowing him who made us. We did not make ourselves. We are not our own. Our true identity, as male and female persons, is given by God. It is not only foolish, but hopeless, to try to make ourselves what God did not create us to be.

We believe that God’s design for his creation and his way of salvation serve to bring him the greatest glory and bring us the greatest good. God’s good plan provides us with the greatest freedom. Jesus said he came that we might have life and have it in overflowing measure. He is for us and not against us. Therefore, in the hope of serving Christ’s church and witnessing publicly to the good purposes of God for human sexuality revealed in Christian Scripture, we offer the following affirmations and denials.

Article 1

WE AFFIRM that God has designed marriage to be a covenantal, sexual, procreative, lifelong union of one man and one woman, as husband and wife, and is meant to signify the covenant love between Christ and his bride the church.
WE DENY that God has designed marriage to be a homosexual, polygamous, or polyamorous relationship. We also deny that marriage is a mere human contract rather than a covenant made before God.

Article 2

WE AFFIRM that God’s revealed will for all people is chastity outside of marriage and fidelity within marriage.
WE DENY that any affections, desires, or commitments ever justify sexual intercourse before or outside marriage; nor do they justify any form of sexual immorality.

Article 3

WE AFFIRM that God created Adam and Eve, the first human beings, in his own image, equal before God as persons, and distinct as male and female.
WE DENY that the divinely ordained differences between male and female render them unequal in dignity or worth.

Article 4

WE AFFIRM that divinely ordained differences between male and female reflect God’s original creation design and are meant for human good and human flourishing.
WE DENY that such differences are a result of the Fall or are a tragedy to be overcome.

Article 5

WE AFFIRM that the differences between male and female reproductive structures are integral to God’s design for self-conception as male or female.
WE DENY that physical anomalies or psychological conditions nullify the God-appointed link between biological sex and self-conception as male or female.

Article 6

WE AFFIRM that those born with a physical disorder of sex development are created in the image of God and have dignity and worth equal to all other image-bearers. They are acknowledged by our Lord Jesus in his words about “eunuchs who were born that way from their mother’s womb.” With all others they are welcome as faithful followers of Jesus Christ and should embrace their biological sex insofar as it may be known.
WE DENY that ambiguities related to a person’s biological sex render one incapable of living a fruitful life in joyful obedience to Christ.

Article 7

WE AFFIRM that self-conception as male or female should be defined by God’s holy purposes in creation and redemption as revealed in Scripture.
WE DENY that adopting a homosexual or transgender self-conception is consistent with God’s holy purposes in creation and redemption.

Article 8

WE AFFIRM that people who experience sexual attraction for the same sex may live a rich and fruitful life pleasing to God through faith in Jesus Christ, as they, like all Christians, walk in purity of life.
WE DENY that sexual attraction for the same sex is part of the natural goodness of God’s original creation, or that it puts a person outside the hope of the gospel.

Article 9

WE AFFIRM that sin distorts sexual desires by directing them away from the marriage covenant and toward sexual immorality— a distortion that includes both heterosexual and homosexual immorality.
WE DENY that an enduring pattern of desire for sexual immorality justifies sexually immoral behavior.

Article 10

WE AFFIRM that it is sinful to approve of homosexual immorality or transgenderism and that such approval constitutes an essential departure from Christian faithfulness and witness.
WE DENY that the approval of homosexual immorality or transgenderism is a matter of moral indifference about which otherwise faithful Christians should agree to disagree.

Article 11

WE AFFIRM our duty to speak the truth in love at all times, including when we speak to or about one another as male or female.
WE DENY any obligation to speak in such ways that dishonor God’s design of his image-bearers as male and female.

Article 12

WE AFFIRM that the grace of God in Christ gives both merciful pardon and transforming power, and that this pardon and power enable a follower of Jesus to put to death sinful desires and to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord.
WE DENY that the grace of God in Christ is insufficient to forgive all sexual sins and to give power for holiness to every believer who feels drawn into sexual sin.

Article 13

WE AFFIRM that the grace of God in Christ enables sinners to forsake transgender self-conceptions and by divine forbearance to accept the God-ordained link between one’s biological sex and one’s self-conception as male or female.
WE DENY that the grace of God in Christ sanctions self-conceptions that are at odds with God’s revealed will.

Article 14

WE AFFIRM that Christ Jesus has come into the world to save sinners and that through Christ’s death and resurrection forgiveness of sins and eternal life are available to every person who repents of sin and trusts in Christ alone as Savior, Lord, and supreme treasure.
WE DENY that the Lord’s arm is too short to save or that any sinner is beyond his reach.

Initial Signatories

Institutional affiliation for identification purposes only

  • Denny Burk: President, Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
  • John Piper: Founder & Teacher, Desiring God and Chancellor, Bethlehem Seminary and College
  • James Dobson: Founder, Focus on the Family
  • Russell Moore: President, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission
  • J. I. Packer: Professor of Theology, Regent College
  • Wayne Grudem: Research Professor of Theology and Biblical Studies, Phoenix Seminary
  • R. Albert Mohler, Jr.: President, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Tony Perkins: President, Family Research Council
  • D. A. Carson: Research Professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
  • John MacArthur: Pastor, Grace Community Church and President, The Master’s Seminary and College
  • Sam Allberry: Speaker & Apologist, Ravi Zacharias International Ministries
  • R. C. Sproul: Founder & Chairman, Ligonier Ministries
  • Rosaria Butterfield: Author of The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert
  • Francis Chan: Author & Pastor, We Are Church
  • Marvin Olasky: Editor in Chief, World Magazine
  • Ligon Duncan: Chancellor & CEO, Reformed Theological Seminary
  • Steve Gaines: President, The Southern Baptist Convention and Pastor, Bellevue Baptist Church
  • Andrew T. Walker: Director of Policy Studies, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission
  • H. B. Charles, Jr.: Pastor, Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church
  • Christopher Yuan: Speaker & Author, Moody Bible Institute
  • Dennis Rainey: Founder & Former President, FamilyLife
  • Frank Page: President & CEO, Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee and Former SBC President
  • Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: Author & Speaker, Revive Our Hearts
  • Daniel L. Akin: President, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Kevin DeYoung: Senior Pastor, Christ Covenant Church
  • Alistair Begg: Reverend, Parkside Church
  • Heath Lambert: Executive Director, Association of Certified Biblical Counselors
  • Jerry A. Johnson: President & CEO, National Religious Broadcasters
  • Mark Dever: Pastor, Capitol Hill Baptist Church
  • Randy Alcorn: Director, Eternal Perspectives Ministries
  • Karen Swallow Prior: Professor of English, Liberty University
  • Matt Chandler: Pastor, The Village Church
  • Fred Luter: Senior Pastor, Franklin Avenue Baptist Church and Former SBC President
  • James MacDonald: Founder and Senior Pastor, Harvest Bible Chapel and Former SBC President
  • James Merritt: Pastor, Cross Pointe Church
  • Jack Graham: Pastor, Prestonwood Baptist Church
  • J. D. Greear: Pastor, The Summit Church
  • Darryl Delhousaye: President, Phoenix Seminary
  • Thomas White: President, Cedarville University
  • Bryant Wright: Senior Pastor, Johnson Ferry Baptist Church and Former SBC President
  • Don Sweeting: President, Colorado Christian University
  • Jeff Purswell: Director of Theology, Sovereign Grace Churches
  • Johnny Hunt: Pastor, FBC Woodstock and Former SBC President
  • Jason K. Allen: President, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Erick-Woods Erickson: Editor in Chief, The Resurgent
  • Mark L. Bailey: President & Senior Professor of Bible Exposition, Dallas Theological Seminary
  • K. Erik Thoennes: Professor and Chair of Theology, Talbot School of Theology, Biola University
  • Vaughan Roberts: Rector of St. Ebbe’s Church (UK)
  • David French: Senior Writer, National Review
  • Paige Patterson: President, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • R. Kent Hughes: Visiting Professor of Practical Theology, Evangelism and Culture, Westminster Theological Seminary
  • Jeff Iorg: President, Gateway Seminary
  • Sam Storms: Lead Pastor for Preaching and Vision, Bridgeway Church
  • Richard Land: President, Southern Evangelical Seminary
  • Robert A. J. Gagnon: Scholar and Author of The Bible and Homosexual Practice
  • Samuel W. “Dub” Oliver: President, Union University
  • Ronnie Floyd: Senior Pastor, Cross Church and Former President, Southern Baptist Convention
  • C. J. Mahaney: Senior Pastor, Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville
  • Jason G. Duesing: Provost, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary & College
  • Matt Carter: Pastor of Preaching and Vision, The Austin Stone Church
  • Chuck Kelley: President, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Burk Parsons: Copastor, St. Andrew’s Chapel
  • Eric Teetsel: President, Family Policy Alliance of Kansas
  • Alastair Roberts: Scholar & Author of Heirs Together: A Theology of the Sexes
  • Kevin Ezell: President, North American Mission Board
  • Ray Ortlund: Pastor, Immanuel Church
  • O. S. Hawkins: President, GuideStone SBC
  • Thom S. Rainer: President & CEO, LifeWay Christian Resources
  • Michael Reeves: President and Professor of Theology, Union School of Theology (UK)
  • Todd Wagner: Pastor, Watermark Community Church
  • John M. Frame: Professor Emeritus of Systematic Theology and Philosophy, Reformed Theological Seminary
  • Randy Stinson: Senior VP for Academic Administration and Provost, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Thomas Schreiner: Professor of New Testament Interpretation, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • H. Wayne House: Academic Dean and Distinguished Research Professor, Faith International University
  • J. P. Moreland: Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, Talbot School of Theology, Biola University
  • Bruce Ware: Professor of Christian Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Michael Goeke: Associate Pastor, FBC San Francisco
  • Joel Belz: Founder, World Magazine, World News Group
  • Afshin Ziafat: Lead Pastor, Providence Church
  • Stephen Strang: Founder & CEO, Charisma Media
  • Christiana Holcomb: Legal Counsel, Alliance Defending Freedom
  • Owen Strachan: Associate Professor of Christian Theology, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Anthony Kidd: Pastor of Preaching, Community of Faith Bible Church
  • James M. Hamilton, Jr.: Professor of Biblical Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Bryan Carter: Senior Pastor, Concord Church
  • Chris Larson: President & CEO, Ligonier Ministries
  • Bruce Riley Ashford: Provost and Professor of Theology & Culture, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Candi Finch: Assistant Professor of Theology in Women’s Studies, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Curtis Woods: Associate Executive Director, Kentucky Baptist Convention
  • Nathan Finn: Dean, School of Theology and Missions, Union University
  • James Robison: Founder & President, LIFE Outreach International and Founder & Publisher, The Stream
  • C. Ben Mitchell: Graves Professor of Moral Philosophy, Union University
  • Darrell Bock: Senior Professor, Dallas Theological Seminary
  • David Mathis: Executive Editor, Desiring God
  • Ken Magnuson: Professor of Christian Ethics, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Daniel Heimbach: Senior Professor of Christian Ethics, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Hershael W. York: Professor of Christian Preaching, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Mary Mohler: Director, Seminary Wives Institute
  • Hunter Baker: Associate Professor, Union University
  • Dorothy Kelley Patterson: Professor of Theology in Women’s Studies, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Jim Shaddix: Professor of Expository Preaching, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • John N. Oswalt: Visiting Distinguished Professor of Old Testament, Asbury Theological Seminary
  • Jack Deere: Author and Speaker, Grace Church
  • Juan R. Sanchez: Senior Pastor, High Pointe Baptist Church
  • Malcolm B. Yarnell III: Research Professor of Systematic Theology, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Jonathan Leeman: Editorial Director, 9Marks
  • Mary A. Kassian: Author, Director, Girls Gone Wise
  • Mark Daniel Liederbach: Professor & Vice President, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Matthew J. Hall: Dean of Boyce College & Senior VP of Academic Innovation, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Micah Fries: Senior Pastor, Brainerd Baptist Church
  • Nathan Lino: Senior Pastor, Northeast Houston Baptist Church
  • Paul Weber: President & CEO, Family Policy Alliance
  • Bob Lepine: Vice President of Content, FamilyLife
  • Casey B. Hough: Senior Pastor, FBC Camden
  • Russell Shubin: Director, Salem Media Group
  • Allan Coppedge: Retired Professor of Theology, Asbury Theological Seminary
  • Daniel DeWitt: Director of the Center for Biblical Apologetics & Public Christianity, Cedarville University
  • Charlotte Akin: Homemaker, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Don Buckley: Physician, Spanish Trail Family Physicians
  • David Schrock: Pastor for Preaching and Theology, Occoquan Bible Church
  • E. Calvin Beisner: Founder & National Spokesman, Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation
  • Donald A. Balasa: Adjunct Faculty, Trinity International University
  • Donna Thoennes: Adjunct Professor and homeschool mom, Biola University
  • James A. Borland: Professor of New Testament & Theology, Liberty University
  • Eric C. Redmond: Assistant Professor of Bible, Moody Bible Institute
  • Grant Castleberry: Pastor of Discipleship, Providence Church
  • Jose Abella: Lead Pastor, Providence Road Church
  • Phillip Bethancourt: Executive Vice President, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission
  • Adam Greenway: Dean, Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism, & Ministry, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Joy White: Homemaker & Assistant Professor of Women’s Studies, Cedarville University
  • Gregory Wills: Dean, School of Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Katie McCoy: Assistant Professor of Theology in Women’s Studies, Scarborough College
  • Rhyne R. Putman: Associate Professor of Theology and Culture, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Barry Joslin: Professor of Christian Theology, Boyce College
  • Rhonda Kelley: President’s Wife, Adjunct Faculty, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Peter Jones: Executive Director, TruthXchange
  • Bryan Baise: Assistant Professor of Philosophy & Apologetics, Boyce College
  • Kenneth Keathley: Senior Professor of Theology, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Jeff Struecker: Pastor, Calvary Baptist Church
  • Rebecca Jones: Volunteer, truthXchange
  • Evan Lenow: Associate Professor of Ethics, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Daniel Patterson: Vice President for Operations and Chief of Staff, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission
  • David Talley: Professor of Old Testament, Biola University
  • Travis Wussow: VP for Public Policy, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission
  • Sean Perron: Chief of Staff, The Association of Certified Biblical Counselors
  • Michael L. Brown: President, FIRE School of Ministry
  • Keith Whitfield: Assistant Professor & Dean, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Jeffrey Riley: Professor of Ethics, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Dannah Gresh: Co-founder, Pure Freedom
  • Matt Damico: Associate Pastor of Worship, Kenwood Baptist Church
  • Colby Adams: Director of Communications, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Paul Felix: President, Los Angeles Bible Training School
  • Colin Smothers: Executive Director, Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood